State Elections

2018 Elections – Governor

Candidates for Governor

Mike Johnston

Candidate for Governor

For the last seven years, Mike Johnston represented Northeast Denver in the Colorado State Senate where he successfully passed major legislation in the areas of education, economic development, immigration and criminal justice. Before entering the Senate, he spent six years as a high school principal, wrote a book about his experience as a Teach For America corps member in Mississippi entitled “In the Deep Heart’s Core” and served as a senior education advisor to the campaign of President Obama. Mike is a small business owner who helps run his family business, The Christiania Lodge, and has co-founded ventures across the country including New Leaders, a national principal training program for urban schools, the Urban Leaders Fellowship, which prepares young people to fight for social justice through courageous public leadership, and Traverse, a strategic consulting company focused on building policies, partnerships, and programs that transform communities.

Today, Mike is building his campaign for Governor of Colorado on the belief that the state is ready for a new kind of politics dedicated to bridging divides and working together to solve the toughest problems. Mike holds degrees from Yale College, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Yale Law School and was named to Time Magazine’s list of “40 Under 40 Political Leaders” and Forbes’ list of “America’s Seven Most Influential Educators.” Most recently, Mike was highlighted in the New York Times as one of “Fourteen Young Democrats to Watch.”

Learn more at

Cary Kennedy

Candidate for Governor

Cary Kennedy is an American politician from Colorado. She is a former Colorado State Treasurer, as well as a former Deputy Mayor and Chief Financial Officer of Denver, Colorado.

I am running for governor because I love Colorado. If we invest in our people, manage our money responsibly, and protect the Colorado we love, we can ensure that everyone here can benefit from our progress.

Colorado is innovative, forward thinking, solutions-oriented, and welcoming. We have built one of the fastest-growing economies in the nation. But, our work in Colorado just got a lot tougher. We lost our partner in Washington. We won’t let Washington take our state backwards. I am running for governor because I love Colorado. If we invest in our people, manage our money responsibly, and protect the Colorado we love, we can ensure that everyone here can benefit from our progress.
I started my career by writing and helping pass Amendment 23 that’s prioritized education and protected our schools from even deeper budget cuts. As treasurer, I created a billion-dollar program, with no new or increased state taxes, that’s renovating hundreds of aging school buildings around our state – so that all kids including those in low-income and rural communities have modern learning facilities.
I want all of our kids to have opportunities and be able to compete for the jobs in Colorado’s growing economy.

If I am elected governor, I will make education Colorado’s top priority. I will work with our schools and communities to make sure every child gets a great education that is engaging and empowering. We can give every child the opportunity to go to preschool and kindergarten. We can give our teachers the professional pay they deserve. We can offer technical and professional courses while kids are still in high school. And we can get our kids through college without burdensome debt.

We need to manage our money responsibly. This has been my life’s work. As State Treasurer and Denver’s Chief Financial Officer, I’ve been in charge of your money for over a decade. I’ve kept our budget balanced. I’ve put our state on stronger financial footing. And Colorado’s taxes are among the lowest in the country.
That means making sure our roads, highways and transit can accommodate everybody. It means making sure we’ve got enough great, modern schools for all of our kids. It means making sure we protect our water, address climate change and expand broadband so that every family has what it needs to thrive.

Learn more at

Donna Lynne

Candidate for Governor

Donna Lynne, DrPH, is Colorado’s 49th Lieutenant Governor and Chief Operating Officer (COO). As COO, she works closely with the Governor and Cabinet to drive better performance, accountability and transparency throughout state government operations. Prior to assuming her roles in Colorado state government, Dr. Lynne served as the executive vice president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, and as group president responsible for its Colorado, Pacific Northwest and Hawaii regions – overseeing an $8 billion budget, 1.4 million members and 16,000 employees. She participated in numerous boards and commissions during her time at Kaiser Permanente, including the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Public Schools Foundation Board and many others.
She is recognized as one of the top women business leaders in Denver and one of the top 25 Women in Healthcare in the nation. Dr. Lynne also spent 20 years working in various positions in New York City government including First Deputy Commissioner at the Office of Labor Relations, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations, and Senior Vice President of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science from University of New Hampshire, a Masters of Public Administration from George Washington University, and a Doctor of Public Health from Columbia University. In 2014, Dr. Lynne received an honorary doctorate of public service from the University of Denver, and in 2017 an honorary bachelor of science degree in nursing from Colorado Mountain College. She resides in Denver with her husband and enjoys activities such as climbing all of Colorado’s fourteeners, participating in Ride the Rockies and going on ski challenges around the world. Dr. Lynne has three children and two stepchildren.

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Jared Polis

Candidate for Governor

Jared Polis is an independent leader with a proven track record of turning big ideas into real results, Polis will meet with innovative leaders in the renewable energy, business, and education sectors. “I’m running to be Colorado’s next Governor to turn bold ideas into real results. Colorado can lead the way into the future by building an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. I have a plan to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2040 and provide free full-day kindergarten and preschool in every community across our state. This campaign will be about big ideas and a vision for what we can accomplish together for Colorado’s future.

Learn more at


2018 Elections – Attorney General

Candidates for Attorney General

Joe Salazar

Candidate for Attorney General

Colorado State Representative, Joe Salazar, is running for the Office of the Colorado Attorney General. Joe intends to take the AG’s Office out of the hands of corporations and special interests and return the People’s Lawyer back to The People. Serving in the Colorado House of Representatives since 2013, Joe is the only candidate with the track record of fighting for communities and the health of Colorado’s environment.

As a state representative, he serves as vice-chair of the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee and also serves on the Judiciary Committee. During the 2017 session, Joe brought forth bills that directly fought against the federal overreach of our current administration.

As an attorney, his practice of law has always encompassed a focus on cases of constitutional and anti-discrimination issues. His expertise in employment law, civil rights, constitutional and federal Indian law has assisted in his development of legislation while working directly with the communities they impact. His direct work with stakeholders and constituents alike is why he is the candidate that has the support of The People statewide.

Learn more at

Phil Weiser

Candidate for Attorney General

Phil is an innovative leader who has dedicated his life to public service and teaching. He is a lifelong Democrat who has worked on behalf of Democratic candidates in Colorado for the last 20 years.

After serving as a law clerk in Denver for Judge Ebel on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Phil clerked for Justices Byron White and Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the U.S. Supreme Court. He worked in President Clinton’s Justice Department before coming home to teach at the University of Colorado Law School. He founded the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship, co-chaired Governor Bill Ritter’s Innovation Council, and litigated civil rights cases pro bono before the Tenth Circuit.

After serving in the Obama Administration as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General and as Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation at the White House’s National Economic Council, Phil returned home to serve as Dean of CU Law. A leader in the Colorado startup community, he co-founded Startup Colorado and founding the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network.

Phil and Heidi, a physician, are raising their two children, Aviva and Sammy, in Denver.

Learn more at

2018 Elections – Secretary of State

Candidates for Secretary of State

Jena Griswold

Candidate for Secretary of State

Jena Griswold is a lawyer and small business owner, who has spent her career fighting for justice and fairness. Jena is running for Secretary of State to ensure that every Coloradan can exercise his or her constitutional right to vote, to increase campaign finance transparency, and to make government easier for Coloradans.

Jena’s family knows how important voting is to our democracy and our country. Her great-grandparents came to the United States, escaping persecution in Eastern Europe. Against all odds, their deaf son—Jena’s grandpa—was able to get an education, start a business, and raise a family. Jena’s grandpa taught her the importance of voting and living in a democracy. Jena is now running for Secretary of State to ensure that every eligible Coloradan is able to vote.

As Secretary of State, Jena will ensure that Colorado has the most secure and accessible elections in the nation. In the last presidential election, the Democratic National Committee and 39 states’ electoral systems were compromised by possible foreign actors. Jena will work relentlessly to enhance our election’s cyber security to withstand attacks from domestic agents and foreign agents like Russia.

Jena will stand up to President Trump, to protect Coloradans’ right to vote and to defend Coloradans’ right to privacy. Trump established a “Commission on Election Integrity,” claiming millions of illegal votes were cast in the last election. There is absolutely no proof of this. The Commission serves as a pretext to spread the Trump Administration’s falsehoods, and worse, represents an effort to weaken our voting rights. Colorado must resist any attempts by President Trump to disenfranchise voters. As Secretary of State, Jena will stand up against the Trump Administration, and protect Coloradans’ right to vote.

Jena plans to build a more transparent government by making it easier to see big money’s role in our elections and by supporting a law to require presidential candidates to release their tax returns to get on the Colorado ballot. She will also make the Secretary of State’s Office a resource center for new businesses and entrepreneurs.

Jena knows that voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, and she is committed to ensuring that every eligible Coloradan can vote. As Secretary of State, Jena will fight to make Colorado a place where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.

Learn more at

2018 Elections – State Treasurer

Candidates for State Treasurer

Bernard Douthit

Candidate for State Treasurer

I was born and raised here in Colorado, and while I have a long history of community and civic involvement, I am not an insider.  I am not part of the wealthy, well-connected, business elite. I am an ordinary person and I still believe that ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they work hard are sincere and connected with their communities.  I believe I have the passion, ideas and qualifications to bring real change to this office.

The State Treasurer manages a portfolio of roughly $6.5 billion and sits on more than 8 important boards including the board of the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA).  This office is important and requires more expertise than what can be provided by career politicians who often use this job as a stepping stone to higher office. We need a State Treasurer who is qualified with a background in finance and economics to oversee our state’s finances.  After all, this is our money.

I know what it is like to have to meet payroll within a tight budget when times are tough. In good times meeting a budget is easy. In tough times meeting a budget is the real test.  I have a proven track record of doing both.


As difficult as it may be to predict the future, I think that our politicians and government agencies can do a better job of forecasting costs and revenues. I don’t agree that we need to accept huge cost overruns or revenue shortfalls as a default.

We need a State Treasurer who is truly independent – who will look out for you and your money.  The Treasurer doesn’t vote on legislation, but he can and should be a watchdog – looking out for you and your money.

As your next State Treasurer, I will leverage my background in finance, economics and business to help ensure that our government works fiscally, and is honest and transparent with the people of Colorado.  After all, it’s our money.

Dave Young

Candidate for State Treasurer

My name is Dave Young, and I announced my campaign for Colorado State Treasurer at the end of October.  As a Greeley resident and math teacher, I know the challenges Colorado families face. Our state is growing rapidly. But not everyone is sharing in our state’s prosperity. Places like Greeley and rural Colorado where I come from continue to struggle. I am running for Treasurer because I believe we need to put Colorado on better financial footing, where prosperity from our growth is shared.

I have been a state representative since July 2011, representing east Greeley, Evans and Garden City.  Over the past three years, I’ve served as chair of the House Appropriations Committee and as a member of the Joint Budget Committee focusing on solving Colorado’s budget crisis.

Before my work as a legislator, I was a senior instructor for the Information and Learning Technologies program at the University of Colorado Denver.  Prior to that, I was an information architect for a large Web services company. I started my career as a junior high math, science and technology teacher.  I’ve lived in Greeley for over 40 years and I’m a native Coloradan.

I earned my MA in instructional design from UC Denver in 2000, and my BS in mathematics from Colorado State University in 1975. I’m married to Dr. Mary Young, a school psychologist for Centennial BOCES, and my sister, who is developmentally disabled, lives in Pueblo West.

I’m committed to public service and community involvement. In addition to being a member of the newly-formed Donor Alliance Foundation Board of Directors, I worked as a trail maintenance volunteer for the Poudre River Trail system.

Twitter: @RepDaveYoung
Instagram: @RepDaveYoung
Facebook: Dave Young for Colorado State Treasurer

2018 Elections – State Board of Education

Candidates for State Board of Education, CD4

Tim Krug

Candidate for State Board of Education
Tim Krug is a husband, parent, teacher, and retired entrepreneur.  
Tim worked as an English Language Teacher in the Japanese public school system before becoming the owner and CEO of a chain of successful English Language Schools. When their son Joseph was diagnosed with autism in 2013, Tim and his wife Yumiko decided to move their family back to the United States to provide their son with the best possible opportunities for success.
An Eagle Scout, Tim  volunteers in his church and children’s school.
Tim volunteers one day each week helping dedicated teachers with their enormous workload. While volunteering each week, Tim discusses education with teachers, administrators, and other parents. He serves on volunteer committees and attends numerous forums and seminars to advocate for students and better understand issues facing Colorado schools.
System Failure
Colorado’s educational system is broken and is not a sustainable model for success. Our current system prioritizes vendors over taxpayers and lobbyists over students. Failed reforms have pitted schools and parents against one another in a “winners and losers” model where the losers are taxpayers, teachers, and families. Since lawmakers forced Betsy DeVos-style reforms on Colorado schools, salaries for teachers have plummeted, administrative costs have skyrocketed, segregation has increased, transparency decreased, and Colorado districts have seen dozens of schools close.
Parents Vs. Billionaires
More than a decade of false promises and failed education reforms in Colorado have wreaked havoc on students, teachers, and taxpayers. However, dark money continues to flow through special interests groups to politicians willing to sell out Colorado communities to the highest bidder. Tim Krug has consistently called out politicians who take money from dubious sources funded by Betsy DeVos and other profiteers to turn our kids into commodities. A line in the sand has been drawn between local public education defenders and the profit-driven invaders.
Tim Krug is on the side of Colorado students, parents, educators, and taxpayers.

2018 Elections – University of Colorado Board of Regents – At Large

University of Colorado Board of Regents – At Large

Lesley Smith

CU Regent – At Large

Democrat Dr. Lesley Smith today announced her candidacy for CU Regent-at large. Lesley, 59, said, “My 30 years as a scientist and educator at CU, eight years of public service on my local school board, and pioneering experience as the first woman aquanaut at the underwater Aquarius research lab have prepared me to take on the challenges facing the CU system. I am honored and ready to vigorously pursue the opportunity to serve our wonderful community again in the role of CU Regent.”

Lesley’s goals for the University of Colorado include offering an excellent, relevant education that prepares students for the workforce; providing all students affordable, equitable and accessible pathways to success; and working hard to attract strong funding for a strong CU system.

Lesley graduated from University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) with a B.A. in Aquatic Biology. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland after completing a research project in the Brazilian Amazon where she had the responsibility of the on-the-ground operations of a multi-million dollar project while pursuing her research.

Lesley has lived in Colorado since 1989. She works at CU Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences (CIRES) where she worked as a Research Scientist and is currently Associate Director of CIRES Education & Outreach. She lives in Boulder with her spouse Michael, an atmospheric scientist at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA.) Together they have two children.

Colorado State House Majority Leader KC Becker said, “I am happy to endorse Lesley Smith for the at-large seat on the CU Board of Regents. Not only does she have a solid understanding of the importance of the University of Colorado in our state, but she believes that all Colorado students deserve the opportunity to have a college education. Colorado’s economy depends on a well-educated work force and the best way for that to happen is to ensure that all students can acquire the education that they want.”

For additional information, contact:
Lesley Smith 720-273-4102


2018 Elections – Senate District

Candidates for State Senate District

Dr. Julia Varnell-Sarjeant

Candidate for State Senate District 30

Dr. Julia Varnell-Sarjeant is a fifth generation Coloradoan, her grandchildren are seventh generation. Julia attended JeffCo public schools from kindergarten through high school graduation at Wheat Ridge High School. She received her Economics degree with honors from the University of Missouri in Columbia Mo., a Masters in Computer Science from University of Colorado, Denver, and her PhD in Computer Science Systems Engineering from the University of Denver.  Julia is a proud supporter for Colorado’s public school systems because she’s a product of those public schools until her PhD.

In 1892, Julia’s great grandfather was a state senator, and became secretary of state of Colorado in 1900 on the Populist party ticket. Her grandmother is in the Colorado Women’s Hall of fame as one of the few women medical doctors in Colorado, who was graduated from the University of Denver medical school (now the CU med school). Her father was a banker in Denver, and was very active in the Denver community. He spearheaded the drive to build the original Mile High Stadium that kept the Broncos in Denver, and led the drive to build Coors field that brought the Colorado Rockies to Denver. He was also an original owner of the Denver Rockets, now the Nuggets, and started the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.

Julia was raised on Colorado politics. She was an active Republican, serving as committee chairwoman and treasurer of the Republican Women, first in California, then in Douglas County. However, the Republican Party she grew up in changed, and she changed. She switched parties in 2002.  She appreciates what the Democrats stand for and had found a home.

Julia has a passion for renewable energy and is a strong advocate of continuing Douglas County’s impressive leadership in transitioning to solar energy. She is an advocate of protected open space.

Julia worked at Lockheed California Company on the L-1011 program starting in 1981. Her responsibilities expanded at Sunnyvale, where she worked as a program planner on a number of Defense, NASA and NOAA programs and proposals. She and husband Jim missed Colorado, so they moved to Highlands Ranch in 1989, where she worked for Martin Marietta until she left to raise her second child in 1991. She worked as a realtor and a mortgage lender as she raised her son, and returned to Aerospace and Defense in 1999, first at Raytheon, then back to Lockheed. She was Chief Engineer on a research project for AFRL, designing defense software systems beginning in 2012. After that, she worked on Corporate projects with an emphasis on Information Assurance, which includes cybersecurity.

Julia retired in 2013. As a retired woman she began writing and blogging and took time to enjoy supporting her family’s interests, as well as undertaking individual projects.

2018 Elections – House District

Candidates for House District

Kamala Vanderkolk

Candidate for House District 39

Hello friends, neighbors, and fellow Coloradans,

Some of you might know me as “the Movie Night lady” or “the Tesla lady” or “the Logo lady.”

As a member of Roxborough, I have actively given back to the community however I can. For the last 4 years, I’ve organized Family Movie Nights for parents to spend time with their kids and get to know their neighbors.

I support our schools by designing and selling Roxborough logo gear to help raise funds and promote a sense of pride in our schools as well as our community.

As an Uber driver, I’ve enjoyed getting to know countless members of our community while doing whatever is needed, whether that’s providing busy travelers transport to and from the airport, chauffeuring those of us with medical conditions, or serving as a designated driver.

As a mom to three amazing kids (a special needs son, a gifted daughter, and a bonus daughter from Norway), the education of students from all walks of life is very important to me. We must ensure our schools prepare our students for society’s ever-evolving job market. We must ensure all kids are prepared to be productive members of society.

As a tech nerd and innovation enthusiast, I advocate green energy solutions wherever practical. In our own daily lives, my family and I have replaced all our gas-powered vehicles and equipment with their electric counterparts.

Born and raised in Northern Virginia—just outside our nation’s capital—I’ve always known that politics holds a principle role in my life. I attended school with Sununus and Gores. My mom worked for Senator Simpson, and my brother is a Capitol Hill police officer. I have valuable experience working for and with government at all levels, all the way from local governing bodies to Federal agencies.

It’s time to serve the people of this district. I THRIVE on being able to serve my community, and I can’t wait to serve this district in the Colorado House in 2019!

Learn more at


Barrett Rothe

Candidate for House District 43

Barrett works as a health care consultant and is passionate about education, transit, and campaign finance reform. He attended high school, college, and graduate school in Colorado. He and his family live in Highlands Ranch.

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Simone Aiken

Candidate for House District 44

Simone Aiken moved from Colorado Springs to Golden in 1997 to attend Colorado School of Mines.  She received degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science, and a minor in Physics and spent the next 16 years writing code for a variety of politically sensitive industries such as email security, geological surveying, health insurance claims processing, and aerospace.  The 2016 election made it clear that we are lacking both in expertise and good faith when it comes to governance. Simone seeks to bring both to the table with her experience designing complex systems, her significant insider knowledge, and her commitment to making government work for everyone.  

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Michael Hupp

Candidate for House District 45

Michael Hupp is a Colorado native and graduate of the University of Colorado. He is currently a full-time practicing equine veterinarian and drives around the district daily working on horses. He is running to represent the people of District 45 not a partisan agenda. As a veterinarian, he brings a pragmatic, diagnostic approach to problem solving and a passion for lifelong learning. A husband and father, he is a fierce advocate for safe and successful schools, and looks forward to raising his children in this incredible community. He will work to preserve the natural beauty of this state and fight for the Colorado values that shaped him: independence, integrity, and common sense.


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Danielle Kombo

Candidate for House DIstrict 45

My name is Danielle Kombo and I am running for District 45. I am a California native, but I am glad to have moved to colorful Colorado 19 years ago. I have been married for 15 years to a wonderful, supportive partner who is my confidant and biggest fan. Together we are raising four beautiful children ages 8, 10, 12, and 14 in Castle Rock. In addition to a busy mom of four, I studied health care administration at Colorado State University, I am a small business owner, and a proud American. Prior to starting my business, I worked in health care for 10 years for the largest health care organization in the State of Colorado. Working in health care as a project coordinator, physician recruiter, and clinic supervisor gave me insight into the issues with health care in our State.
I am running because I truly want to make our country and our community safe by protecting the 2nd amendment rights of law abiding citizens, and by ending extreme partisan politics that are driving the focus away from what our community needs to thrive. Our State needs legislators who will work to improve infrastructure, including accessible public transportation to cut down on the traffic through the I-25 corridor, place funding back into our public schools, and develop a health care model that is both affordable and quality driven.
If you want a legislator that will work for you, then I am the right choice for District 45!

Learn more at

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